MACHIR BEN ABBA MARI:
Author of a work entitled "Yalḥuṭ ha-Makiri," but about whom not even the country or the period in which he lived is known. Steinschneider ("Jewish Literature," p. 143) supposes that Machir lived in Provence; but the question of his date remains a subject of discussion among modern scholars. The work itself is similar in its contents to the "Yalḥuṭ Shim'oni," with the difference that while the latter covers the whole Bible, Machir extended his compilation of Talmudic and midrashic sentences only to the books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, the twelve Minor Prophets, Psalms, Proverbs, and Job. In the introductions, apparently very similar, to these books, Machir gives the reason which induced him to undertake such a work: he desired to gather the scattered haggadic sentences into one group. He seems to have thought it unnecessary to do the same thing for the Pentateuch and the Five Scrolls, as it had been done already, to a certain extent, in the Midrash Rabbah; but it may be concluded that Machir intended to make such a compilation on the earlier prophetical books also. From his introduction to the part on Isaiah it would seem that he began with Psalms and finished with Isaiah, though in his introduction to the part on the Psalms he mentions the other parts.
Machir used the following sources in his compilation: the two Talmuds, the Tosefta, the minor treatises, the Sifra, the Sifre, the Pesiḳta, Midrash Rabbah on the Pentateuch, Midrash Ḳohelet, Midrash Tehillim, Midrash Mishle, Midrash Iyyob, Midrash Tanḥuma, a Midrash quoted as , Pirḳe Rabbi Eli'ezer, Seder 'Olam, and Haggadat Shir ha-Shirim, frequently quoting the last-named Midrash in the part on Isaiah. Machir had another version of Deuteronomy Rabbah, of which only the part on the section "Debarim" exists now (comp. S. Buber, "Liḳḳutim mi-Midrash Eleh ha-Debarim Zuṭa," Introduction). It is difficult to ascertain whether Machir knew of the Midrash Yelammedenu; he quotes only Midrash Tanḥuma, but the passages which he cites are not found in the present text of that work, so that it is possible that he took these passages from the Yelammedenu.
Only the following parts of the "Yalḳuṭ ha-Makiri" are extant: Isaiah, published by I. Spira (Berlin, 1894; comp. Israel Lévi in "R. E. J." xxviii. 300) from a Leyden manuscript; Psalms, published by S. Buber (Berdychev, 1899) from two manuscripts (one, previously in the possession of Joseph b. Solomon of Vyazhin, was used by David Luria, and its introduction was published by M. Straschun in Fuenn's "Ḳiryah Ne'emanah," p. 304; the other is MS. No. 167 in the Bodleian Library); the twelve Minor Prophets (Brit. Mus., Harleian MSS., No. 5704); Proverbs, extant in a MS. which is in the possession of Grünhut ("Zeit. für Hebr. Bibl." 1900, p. 41), and which was seen by Azulai ("Shem ha-Gedolim," ii., s.v. "Yalḳuṭ ha-Makiri").
Gaster ("R. E. J." xxv. 43 et seq.) attached great importance to Machir's work, thinking that it was older than the "Yalḳuṭ. Shim'oni," the second part of which at least Gaster concluded was a bad adaptation from the "Yalḳuṭ ha-Makiri." Gaster's conclusions, however, were contested by A. Epstein ("R. E. J." xxvi. 75 et seq.), who declares that Machir's "Yalḳuṭ." is both inferior and later than the "Yalḳuṭ Shim'oni." Buber conclusively proved, in the introduction to his edition of the "Yalḳuṭ ha-Makiri," that the two works are independent of each other, that Machir lived later than the author of the "Yalḳuṭ Shim'oni," and that he had not seen thelatter work. Poznanski thinks that Machir lived in the fourteenth century.
- Poznanski, in R. E. J. xl. 282 et seq., and the sources mentioned above.